Echoes of Tomorrow's Past - Part 5 (An Original Novella)

in #steemit2 years ago

”Yes… I understand… No, Doctor… Well, a few bad dreams here and there but nothing to ring any alarm bells… No other medication… Hallucinations? Definitely not… I will, first thing when he gets back… Not yet… It should be fine though. The reception was never any good in this house anyways… “

The cream drapes obscured what was left of the outside sunlight. A tiny sliver managed to escape through from the edge, causing a long vertical streak drawn up upon the wall. Dolores clung on to the receiver with both hands, anxious and distraught. It had been well over five hours since bidding James farewell. The wait was agonizing. Six phone calls later and just the same monotonous replies of an answering message. She cupped a hand over her head whilst pulling at the thin cord near the window sill. The dying embers of a blazing red sun met her tired gaze.

”This is crazy. I can’t understand what happened.” She muttered. ”Are you sure that nurse didn’t say anything to him beforehand?”

A moment later, the familiar muffled rattle of keys outside the front door. Her heart leapt inside her chest. ”Doctor, I think he’s come home. I’ve got to go…” Hanging up the phone, she hurried into the hallway as James emerged though the entrance. His eyes were red raw and vein-filled. He slid a tongue around this parched lips before speaking. ”Look, Dolores. I don’t wanna talk about it, OK?”

James attempted to barge past her but she placed one firm hand on the wall, blocking his way. ”You don’t want to talk about what exactly?”

The pair of them stood in silence before James bowed down and shook his head. ”Not now, Dolores. Please… I just want to be left alone.” She refused to budge from her rigid stance, keeping her eyes locked on his. ”Look. I was just on the phone with Dr. Grey. Apparently, you stormed out of there and in the thick of things, broke some of their expensive equipment. I asked him what had happened and he had no idea. You suddenly just flipped out. They’re running through the chat log as we speak to ascertain if your designated nurse had anything to do with it.”

James looked up at her, seeing the confused state she was in. ”It wasn’t her fault, OK? It was me. All me.”

”What was all you?” she asked again. ”What happened back there? Just give me some indication of what’s going on and then I promise I’ll leave you to your own thoughts for the rest of the evening.”

He shuffled into the living room and rubbed a soothing palm on the side of his face. Dolores followed close behind. ”Let’s just say I had a… moment of clarity, Dolores. An epiphany, if you like. This whole deal with me and these chips buried inside my head. I want nothing more to do with any of it. It just ain’t… natural.”

She moved over to their L-shaped leather sofa tucked up against the wall and sat balanced on the edge. ”But we had an agreement, right? I was waiting for you to come home with a digital album full of our most cherished times together. You know how long I’ve waited for this day. What made you change your mind?”

”Because.” He continued. ”I don’t want it.” She felt a cold, hard menace behind his words as he pushed on. ”Whatever happened to the good old days of downloading photos off of a phone or camera and storing them on some traditional, commonplace medium? Can’t you see? I don’t want these machines wreaking havoc in my head. God only knows what damage has already been done. And worse still, they’re never coming out. Ever. Fused with me like some parasitic silicon twin. There are things… I just don’t want to be reminding of.”

James’s last statement hinted at a better explanation than if he had admitted the truth word for word. ”You saw her, didn’t you?” She said, calm in her demeanour. ”I warned you how much stress it would cause. You should have listened to me. Do you know how much money we’ve sunk into that company already? Because I sure as hell don’t expect to get any kind of refund after today’s events.”

”Damn the money. I panicked, alright!” He yelled. ”I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life regretting why I didn’t get to see her again one last time. It destroyed a part of me, Dolores. I was only fourteen years old. You understand? A child. And now she’s prowling through my dreams at night, several times a week. Hideous, distorted dreams that are eating me up from the inside out. I thought me viewing that memory might bring some sort of closure.” James bought his hands up, covering his face. She saw how torn up he still was about his tragic loss at such a tender young age. The sound of deep, pitiful sobs caught her off-guard.

”Hey, baby.” She said, lifting herself to rush over to him. ”It’s OK. Listen, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to come across as a cold-hearted bitch.” His hands parted as she brushed them to one side. His face was moist with a combination of perspiration and salted tears. His eyes remained closed.

”I love and miss my mother, Dolores. But also hate her for what she did to me.” He confessed. ”Just because of her own personal insecurities in life, her not being able to deal with the loss of my father. She’s cursed me with this co-called “gift” that I never asked for. Where’s the fairness in that? Sometimes I think I can even feel the damn things shifting about within my brain cavity. Is it just me imagining it all or is it really happening? I can’t tell the difference anymore. I just wish I could lead a normal life and not have to deal with these freakish options I’ve been burdened with. Please… don’t ask me to go back there again. I’m begging you.”

She swept both her thumbs over his eyelids, leaving a trail of wet across each cheek. Not a second sooner, he opened his eyes again. A glistening ring of patterned blue encapsulating the piercing, dilated black dots at their centre. One of the first things that struck her about him, she thought. Like two ebony sapphires drifting in a clear blue sky. Pure works of alluring art. She bent forward and kissed them both in quick succession. ”Forget about this afternoon for now, James. Let’s discuss this properly tomorrow when you’re rested. I’m sorry to have pushed you. Sometimes I seem to act before I think, you know?”

”It’s OK.” He whimpered. ”I’ll be honest, Dolores. I feel like I’ve gone through some type of major trauma. Kinda numb all over, you know? I’m sure I’ll feel better in the morning.” A thick, dark cloud passed over what was left of the sun, casting an eerie gloom around them. James adjusted his Suede jacket and nudged her to one side. ”Sorry, darling. Can I go lie down for a bit. My head is throbbing something chronic.”

”Sure. No problem. I’ll inform Dr. Grey you’re safe and sound at home.” She replied. ”Can I fix you up something? A sandwich or hot drink maybe?”

”I’m good, thanks.” His head construed with distressing images and mental fatigue, he headed up the narrow flight of stairs. Each step felt like wading through a pit of quicksand. The ghostly apparition of his mother’s final goodbye swirled within a jumble of mixed emotions and torment. He slid past the bedroom door and collapsed onto the bed. James passed out before he had even hit the sheets.

(To Be Continued)


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Hope you enjoyed this story, please look out for more on the way... (author: @ezzy)

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